Lt. Thomas Brown made the ultimate sacrifice in 2008, when at the age of 26, he died of wounds sustained when his rifle platoon came under small arms fire in Iraq.
The Shelton resident and all veterans were honored Sunday morning at two ceremonies at the city’s war memorials, near the Riverwalk.
“Today is even more profound and more pronounced because we are remembering a young life lost for the cause of freedom,” Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti said.
A crowd gathered for a bench dedication to Lt. Brown, followed by the annual Veterans Day ceremony organized by the Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16.
Lt. Brown’s mother, Carol, spoke about her son to the crowd.
“He loved growing up in Shelton and often said he would like to come back and raise his children there one day,” Carol Brown said. “He played Shelton Little League, Biddy Basketball, and his beloved soccer from the age of 5 through the U-16 travel team.”
After graduating from college, her son fulfilled his dream by enlisting in the Army. Lt. Brown wanted to be the best officer he could, his mother said, so he endured the rigors of 16-week Ranger School. Her son was also passionate about helping people in need and animals, she said.
He was killed Sept. 23, 2008, while leading his rifle platoon on patrol in the village of Hilaliya, Iraq.
“His men later told me that if not for Lt. Brown’s insistence to constantly train in full battle gear and always be at the top of their game, many more lives would have been lost that day,” Carol Brown said.
The bench, which going up soon, is donated by Lex Products.
“Some heroes we cannot celebrate and thank in person, one of those is Lt. Thomas Brown,” Joseph Birchak, Senior Vice President of Military Power Systems at Lex Products said to the crowd.
Al Sabetta, Adjutant of Post 16 promised that soon those who served and were lost in Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan will be honored with a war memorial.
“As chairman of the city’s War Memorial Commission I promise that in the near future there will be a fifth monument here,” Sabetta said.
The city’s annual veterans day ceremony included the “honor roll” of deceased Shelton veterans, The American Legion Post 16’s Honor Guard Rifle Squad and members of the Shelton Police and Fire Departments.
Local politicians like State Rep. Jason Perillo were also present.
American Legion Commander, David Gallagher placed a wreath at the memorials and Bugler Ron Dietman played taps.
“To all the veterans this is your day,” Carol Brown said. “A day we celebrate your sacrifice.”